What society needs is deeper than health equality. We need to work towards health equity, such that everyone has equal opportunity to live happy, healthy fulfilling lives. This summer, I have the opportunity to apply what I have learned from my Boston College education in ways that will allow me to do just that – work towards health equity.
An overarching theme of my Boston College education is social justice in everyday life. From my coursework, I have learned that this means examining the distribution of wealth and opportunities of society. BC has helped me in learning how to thoughtfully apply these concepts from academia to real world experiences. A theme from my PULSE class was that learning is not limited to the four walls of a classroom. I found myself taking concepts from class – respect and dignity of the person, social justice, and equity- to the work I was doing as an Emergency Room volunteer in East Boston. I am currently undergoing a similar experience in my internship. I have found many of the concepts I learned in public health – accompaniment, capacity building, and upstream problem solving, are applicable to my experiences in learning about opportunity and health equity at the community level.
During my internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, I will be working on a research project that is centered around the distribution of opportunity and healthcare, using the Child Opportunity Index. As I complete this internship, my challenge will be to seek ways to incorporate equity into health care by identifying disparities in opportunity. During my PULSE service placement I saw firsthand how the cyclical nature of poverty affects access to care and the opportunity for good health. PULSE helped me to understand how this happens. This summer, I will have the opportunity to examine why this happens.
Written by Katie Wheeler, BC Class of 2017